In this chapter we show how a strategy for change emerged within Bass Taverns during the early 1990s. The formation and membership of the Change Management Team is outlined, along with the change processes and projects it initiated or managed. The change projects are described, illustrated and evaluated. Implementation challenges are described, as are the responses to them of the Change Team. Two of the three Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) core processes are illustrated through case study examples. We conclude with a consideration of the politics of change, drawing upon events associated with two of the pub pilot projects.
We observed in chapters 2 and 3 how the fundamental and deep-seated changes in the external contexts of Bass Taverns’ operations, especially the imposition of the Beer Orders in the early 1990s, led to a radical rethink of how the company should be organized and managed hereinafter. Some 2,680 pubs had to be sold in less than two years, and this comprised over one-third of the asset base. This major change in the legislative environment, posing the biggest threat the business had ever faced, was paralleled by a downturn in demand for eating and drinking in pubs. Managers were leaving the company during this period of uncertainty (especially the younger ones), and many of them were not being replaced. At the same time Bass was paying off the debts incurred through the purchase of Holiday Inns, and there was less than half of the previous year’s capital available for the Taverns division. Many of the 2,680 pubs which had to be sold were bought by new competitors (largely on borrowed money), who simply had to be responsive to their customers in order to survive. This new responsiveness in the marketplace had implications for Bass Taverns pubs. The new competitors were ‘fleet of foot’ and price-sensitive. Perhaps they were more entrepreneurial than the ‘slumbering giant’ that was Bass Taverns at this time. We also noted in an earlier chapter that the pressures on the company in terms of the delivery of profit to the parent Bass group did not go away or diminish, despite the fact that they had to sell one-third of their